HELPR : A model for social care in the twenty first century
September 4, 2017
Adult social care is in crisis but could the solution be right in front of our eyes?
Could a change in the delivery model make a huge difference?
Despite its flaws, we still have an outstanding health and social care system, enabling the elderly to retain their independence and stay in their homes and communities. This structure works and will be enhanced by the NHS and local government approaching health and social care in a more holistic way.
Yet, with over 870,000 elderly people receiving local authority supported care every day (a figure growing by 8% a year), and with spending cuts resulting in a £500m deficit in home care funding in 2016/17, the current system is in crisis and the remedies being discussed, such as the social care precept, while welcome, simply aren’t enough to prevent the system from imploding.
With resources stretched to the limit, vulnerable people in the community are not getting the right care when they need it or simply not getting care at all, while the poorly paid, overworked and totally undervalued care workers receive little recognition while doing a frustratingly difficult job.
There is a solution, which is simple and can immediately make substantial savings while enhancing the quality of care delivered.
The current privately outsourced, agency delivered model for social care is broken. Local authorities pay an average hourly rate for care of £14.58, substantially below the estimated £16.70 needed to comply with National Minimum/Living Wage legislation, resulting in a litigation storm waiting to happen, which will destroy the existing system.
Of the current rate, less than half is paid to the care worker with the balance taken by the agency for overheads. The result is an underpaid, overworked, demotivated workforce, with agencies struggling to find new recruits and retain experienced workers.
This system fails the agencies, the workers, our elderly and ultimately, the community.
Why not remove the middle man and replace them with leading edge technology, enabling care purchasers to interact directly with community based care providers? With this model we can substantially reduce overheads, resulting in a reduced hourly cost of care of up to 30%, while giving care workers a better deal by paying them 50% above the National Living Wage. This model not only delivers immediate savings to care budgets, but future proofs local authorities against wage inflation, while providing a consistent supply of motivated, high quality care workers.
By embracing technology, we can automate processes that reduce workload and paperwork, improve transparency and auditability, and enable vital client/patient information to be shared in real time between Social Services and the NHS, thus supporting the goal of a holistic health and social care model.
We need a community based solution to the way social care is managed, procured and delivered. We believe the best way to provide this is by leveraging technology within a social enterprise ethos, which puts people – carers, clients, councils and the community – first.
If you would like to know more about our ideas contact: Susie at [email protected]